Upon predictions of flooding across Nigeria by climate monitoring agencies, such predictions have only succeeded in informing the bewildered public, not that proactive measures are put in place by the authorities to avert the damaging flooding. ODIMEGWU ONWUMERE in this report investigates that authorities have done little or nothing to begin their preparedness, mitigation, and response activities as soon as possible in order to mitigate the impact of the numerous predicted floods on vulnerable states and towns. The article, however, traces how Nigerians have recorded high-profile damage caused by flooding
Nigerians hold their crests in their palms due to the damage caused by the rainy season, which begins in March. There are apocalyptic predictions that herald this wreckage.
For instance, in an announcement signed by Funmi Imuetinyan, the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations Unit in the Ministry of Water Resources, on behalf of the department’s Minister, Engineer Suleiman Adamu, while unveiling the 2022 Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) on May 12, 2022, said that high flooding would hit 233 Local Government Areas in 32 States and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
Climate change, according to experts, is here, and citizens are being displaced from their native homes, while governments are consistently unable to remedy the situation.
According to the 2022 AFO, 233 local government areas in 32 states of the Federation and the FCT are located in highly probable flood risk areas, while 212 local government areas are located in moderately probable flood risk areas in 35 states of the Federation, including the FCT.
The remaining 392 local government areas are located in likely flood hazard zones. States like Adamawa, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, and Ebonyi are among the states said to have a high likelihood of experiencing flooding.
Ekiti, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Jaga, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara, and FCT are among the others.
In a similar forecast, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) selected 10 local government areas in Cross River State as likely flood risk zones in light of the Annual Flood Outlook for 2021.
The unfortunate Nigerians have a similar prediction of flood disasters yearly. When distributing supplies to windstorm victims in the Ikom Local Government Area, NEMA Director-General Muhammadu Muhammed, who was in the area to be represented by Godwin Tepikor in 2021, said the following: Yakurr, Calabar Municipal, Akpabuyo, Obubra, Bakassi, Ogoja, Biase, Etung, Odukpani, and Ikom were among the ten local government areas that floods would ravage.
According to him, Calabar South and Abi were the two local government areas in the state that were classified as very probable danger regions.
These predictions are not mere sayings.
Nigerians have recorded high-profile damage caused by flooding. However, the predictions by a group like AFO have only succeeded in informing the bewildered public, not that serious proactive measures are put in place by the authorities to avert the damaging flooding.
The authorities have done little or nothing to begin their preparedness, mitigation, and response activities as soon as possible in order to mitigate the impact of the numerous predicted floods on vulnerable states and towns.
Checks revealed that they are good at distributing relief materials like bags of rice, beans and garri, tomato paste, kegs of palm oil, wrappers, blankets, bundles of roofing sheets, cement, bags of nails, zinc, and ceiling boards, as NEMA did in 2021 when it gave over 1,000 households affected by windstorm in four communities.
The communities are Ogomogom, Akorofono, Nkarasi, and Abinti communities in the Ikom local government area of Cross River. The director general of the agency said the items were approved by President Muhammadu Buhari following the recommendation from the agency as humanitarian assistance to the affected people.
While not demonstrating the mitigating innovative approach ought to be put in place to prevent the ravaging flood, such donations are always received with a standing ovation by the receiving personality in a given area.
It was thus that the Director General of the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, Princewill Ayim, thanked NEMA for its intervention. Likewise, the Chairman of Ikom Local Government Area, Kingsley Egumi, thanked President Buhari and NEMA for the ‘timely’ response to the concerns of their people, pledging that the items would be judiciously utilized.
Palliatives while floods continue
While the authorities read out the predictions on flood with no mitigating approach on the ground but wait to welcome palliatives for flood victims, residents of Efut communities, Calabar South LGA of Cross River State, didn’t sing "Hosanna In The Highest" on June 22, 2022, after a heavy downpour which resulted in the flooding of Musagha, Effiowan, Bassey, and other adjoining streets.
Their houses and property were submerged in the flood while they scampered for their lives.
The water "brought human and vehicular traffic to a halt in the vicinity and also affected streets, which are roughly a stone's throw from the University of Cross River, UNICROSS entrance," according to an eyewitness.
The State Ministry of Environment and Waste Management Agency was blamed for negligence and failure to clear the refuse dump that had piled up around the university gate, which resulted in runoff water not flowing through its channel, according to a local resident who did not want their name published.
The resident accused the agency of being at fault for the people's problems, claiming that it had utterly failed in its duty to clean up the garbage dump.
This negligence by the authorities is also prevailing in cities and towns across the country. Citizens face unfathomable circumstances every rainy season because rain water has no channels or gutters, causing it to overflow, and residents in the affected area have only their fates to hope for.
Houses destroyed by floods
In a similar movie-like suffering by citizens due to flooding, but it is real, massive flooding destroyed more than 175 houses and rendered at least 3,000 people homeless in Cross River.
A scribe of the State Emergency Management Agency, Mr. John Inaku, Director-General, gave an update on the flood situation in the state on Thursday, September 13, 2018.
Residents were blamed for building houses on water channels that kept analysts wondering who approved the erection of such structures if not the same authorities who have made corruption in the country a delusional culture of a sort.
While acknowledging that Cross River cannot escape flooding during the rainy season, which he said affected residents of Boki, Ogoja, Yala, Calabar Municipality, Calabar South and local government areas, he added:
"Cross River is always affected by floods during the rainy season. Currently, more than 175 homes have been destroyed, and as a result, more than 3,000 people have been displaced.
“This threat has strongly affected agricultural activities, especially in Boki, Yala, and some other areas. We hope NEMA and other companies will come and help the victims. "
He listed flooded areas in Calabar, including Muritala Mohammed Highway, Ebito, Murray, Target, Nelson Mandela, Atu, Yellow Duke, Efiote roundabout, and Mayne Avenue.
He, however, begged to get relief materials for the victims in the state from the National Emergency Management Agency.
Flood awareness program
Despite NEMA's official warning that 14 local government areas in Cross River were vulnerable to flooding, according to forecasts by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and the Nigeria Hydrographic Service Authority (NISHA) in May 2020, the state is always flooded with news of chaos.
That year, it was on Thursday, August 6, 2020, to be precise, when the Director General of NEMA, Deputy Air Marshal Mohammed Mohammed (Rtd), who was represented by the NEMA South-South Regional Coordinator, Mr. Walson Brandon, revealed this in Calabar during a flood awareness program for residents of the Calabar City Area and the South Calabar Local Government Area.
The DG asked residents of Calabar South and the City of Calabar to de-sanitize their gutters and stop dumping garbage inside drainage systems to prevent flooding.
He explained that most flooding activities in certain areas could be controlled if only people in the affected areas took early precautions and safety measures.
Speaking further, he said that 254 communities in 14 local government areas were at risk of flooding, adding that NEMA had committed to an awareness campaign in affected local governments to ensure early preparation.
He mentioned more likely local government areas, including Calabar South, Calabar Municipality, Akpabuyo, Abi, Obudu, and Odukpani.
The DG also revealed that areas with local government capabilities include Yakurr, Obubra, Yala, Bakassi, Boki, Ogoja, Bekwarra, and Biase.
His word: "NEMA is leading this outreach to flood-prone communities in Cross River following the release of NIMET's Annual Flood Outlook Report 2020.
“The forecast has captured 14 local government areas in Cross River that will be impacted, and this will extend to 254 communities in the state."
For his part, the Executive Director of the Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, CRSEMA, Princewill Ayim, said that the agency has established sensitive committees in government areas affected by the plague.
Ayim added that the agency had warned residents against dumping their waste along waterways, adding that such action could lead to flooding.
He urged state residents to call the toll-free 112 hotline in the event of an outbreak of emergency in their locality.
Creating camps in the midst of damaged properties
One of the residents of Calabar South, who would prefer anonymity, thanked NEMA and the Cross River government for the outreach program.
The resident urged NEMA and SEMA to always create emergency camps for displaced people in case a major flood could drive them from their homes.
As if that weren't bad enough, flooding is still wreaking havoc across the country.
Millions of naira's worth of properties, including homes and farmland, were flooded in Obubra in August 2022.
Farmers and locals have lost their jobs as a result of the crop damage and loss, according to Cornelius Okpa, a community leader of Ogurude in the Obubra neighborhood of Osopong.
Moses Onoh, a former majority leader in the House of Commons and another prominent figure in the area, expressed concern over the disaster's effects.
In Calabar South of Cross River State, flooding submerged a portion of the Musaha Lane, Effioawan, and Bassey roads, destroying property and other household goods worth millions of naira.
Hour-long torrential downpours affected economic activities and transportation as people in affected areas evacuated their children to nearby residential areas and transported household items to a safer location.
Weighty rainfall has been recorded
As of June 20, 2022, weighty precipitation has been recorded over limited areas of southern Nigeria, with all out rainfall surpassing 100 mm each day up to this point.
Streak floods have additionally started to fall in regions in the risk zone, chiefly in the northern territories and metropolitan regions from the end of June 2022.
At present, an ever increasing number of blaze floods have been recorded and the general admonition is as of now at a yellow alarm level with close management. Climate specialists have given customary alerts since July.
Throughout the following couple of weeks, weighty downpours are gauged not only in Nigeria but also in the majority of West Africa.
This supports past projections by the Nigeria Hydrographic Service Authority (NIHSA), which in its Annual Flood Outlook (AFO) Report figures that 233 Local Government Areas (LGA) in 32 states of the country (FCT included) will be situated in high flood-prone regions, while 212 LGAs in 35 Federal states, including the FCT, are in moderate flood-risk regions.
Conceivable high flood risk states
The excess 329 LGAs are important for regions that might be in danger of flooding.
Conceivable high flood risk states are Adamawa, Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross-River, Delta, Eboyin, Ekiti, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, and Kadunna.
Others are Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos , Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba and Yobe.
According to NiMeT, precipitation in the southern parts of Nigeria was expected to exceed 2000 mm, while 390 mm was expected in the northern part of the country from June 20 to June 27.
The pattern is like earlier years, bringing about significant flooding, influencing almost 20 states the country over, with in excess of 10,000 families haphazardly impacted in different ways, with no less than 3,000 families.
The family stays destitute and needs to move
Additionally, the frequency and severity of floods are increasing nationwide due to climate change, particularly in areas that border rivers and the ocean.
Due to rising urbanization, flooding's effects have gotten greater in metropolitan areas.
Poor drainage can be found in places like Jalingo, the capital of the state of Taraba, where there is a lack of waste management.
Residential areas are typically not the only ones affected because farmlands are frequently fully covered in floodwater for up to a month or completely carried away by floodwaters.
For instance, in Kebbi—the state that produces the most rice in the country—vast stretches of farmland were entirely drowned by flooding in 2020, and in Jigawa state, a total of 18 out of 27 local government (LGA) areas were damaged.
During the flood season, cows are regularly washed away, and fishing villages are washed away or annihilated. This, much of the time, leaves communities helpless without an occupation to address their issues.
In 2019 and 2020, flooding was accounted for in October, while flooding was additionally announced in September 2021. This suggests that climate change effects could prompt variable precipitation and hence flooding in weak communities sooner than expected.
Flooding as a significant climate change concern
Flooding has undoubtedly remained a significant climate change concern for the country despite improved awareness and sensitization programs for greater readiness in flood mitigation and management, particularly in the flood-prone zones of the country.
Although several states are working furiously to address the problems caused by the flooding, there doesn't seem to be a resolution in the near future.
Despite early warnings, seasonal forecasts, and the Annual Flood Outlook published by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency, the flood tragedy has continued to wreak havoc on numerous villages and states.
It isn't news that the environment is transforming; it is a worldwide truth with neighborhood proof and noteworthy effects. Throughout the course of recent years, Nigeria has encountered a critical expansion in temperature and precipitation with an expansion in a nutshell of serious downpour generally joined by high breezes and blaze floods.
Ozone depleting substances
Climate change talk is never finished without referencing the sea as one of the fundamental drivers, along with ozone depleting substances.
In a new World Meteorological Organization distribution, ozone depleting substance fixations, ocean level ascent, sea intensity, and acidification are expanding, with destructive and durable impacts on the improvement of the sea, practical turn of events, and biological systems.
Rainfall has been set in all southern states and most parts of central states as of 2022, as estimated. Rain is expected to cover the entire country in a matter of months.
Rainfall is expected to be common in many areas. At present, the extraordinary precipitation that characterizes the early months is often joined by streak flooding because of exorbitant overflow and breezy breezes.
During the season, the chance of flooding because of aggregate rainfall and different variables framed by the NIHSA should be viewed in a serious way.
Returning to cities’ masterplans
In some state governments, the need to return to the masterplan is as yet not present.
A state like Lagos says its administration will see where the twists lie and prepare an answer to deflect the debacle. Seepage frameworks should be examined to guarantee they are ready to go and liberated from garbage.
It is accepted that any methodology presented without tackling the issue will make it challenging for any technique to work.
The most effective way for any system to work is for specialists to return to the first masterplan, referring to early advance notice signs to get individuals ready and forestall mishaps.
Mr. Tunji Bello, the Environment and Water Resources Commissioner, stated that a massive drain-off station with massive limit supplies will be provided.
He said: "A long-lasting answer to the flooding issue in Idumagbo, Oroyinyin, Ojo Giwa and around Lagos Island will be set up before the year's end.
“However, I need to guarantee everybody that what has been given to the stockpile toward the year's end is, as of now, a transitory measure, requiring at least two days to siphon water after weighty downpours in what has been known as Idumagbo and its environmental factors, the impacts of climate change.
"Since Lagos is one of the urban areas anticipated to be one of the world's deadliest urban communities, I exhort Lagos Islanders not to dump their sewers and trenches and to assume responsibility for the climate by making a move.
“Act against traders who litter the sewer with increase materials that block the progression of the conduit."
UN "profoundly disheartened"
The impacts of climate change are now being felt in Nigeria, so the United Nations Secretary-General, António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres GCC GCL, a Portuguese legislator and negotiator and the ninth individual to stand firm on the footing of Secretary-General of the United Nations, said on Thursday, October 18, 2018, that he was "profoundly disheartened" when the Nigerian government reported that around 200 individuals had kicked the bucket and 1,310 others were harmed by flooding in many states.
Altogether, around 2,000,000 individuals were impacted. Nigeria's two primary rivers, the Niger and Benue, were accounted for to have spilled over after weighty downpours in August, and the country encountered huge scope flooding from that point forward.
A condition of public calamity was pronounced in the four hardest-hit states: Kogi, Niger, Anambra, and Delta, in that year.
In excess of 561,000 individuals were uprooted, and there was an overabundance of quick help, particularly with impermanent asylum, food, water, family things, and clinical consideration.
Houses were submerged in Niger State after heavy rains in the area in mid-July 2018. Almost 80,000 houses were affected; 18,000 houses were totally annihilated; and in excess of 320 scaffolds and streets were obstructed.
In the most horrendously terrible impacted regions, youngsters couldn't go to class for a really long time.
The Secretary-General expressed his condolences to the families of the victims, as well as the government and people of Nigeria, and wished the injured a speedy recovery, emphasizing that the United Nations was standing by the country during this trying time.
Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Rivers state via: [email protected]